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Winter warms up a damp Curragh and Knight is Decorated at top table again

15/06/2017
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NEWMARKET 1000 Guineas heroine Winter dominated her rivals to complete the notable double in the Irish 1000 Guineas on The Curragh. The Aidan O’Brien-trained 3yo daughter of Galileo saw off stable companion and hot favourite Rhododendron to win the 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile three weeks earlier and was hot favourite to follow up back on home soil in the capable hands of Ryan Moore. In doing so, she became the first of her trainer’s four Newmarket winners to complete the double after failed attempts by Virginia Waters, Homecoming Queen and Minding.

Fellow Ballydoyle inmate Hydrangea adopted a pacesetting role early on before the Mick Halford-trained Rehana was given her head by Pat Smullen and allowed to run to the lead. However, her effort was short lived and Winter loomed ominously alongside just under three furlongs out before scooting clear. The result was never in doubt from there as the daughter of Galileo further extended her lead and passed the post with plenty in hand. Roly Poly and Hydrangea boxed on to finish second and third, making it a 1-2-3 for O’Brien, who was winning the race for a seventh time. Moore said: “It was very easy. She gave me a lovely ride and it was very straightforward.

“She travelled and took me into the race without me asking her a thing and I couldn’t be more impressed. She was relentless and kept building all the way to the line. It rode like a piece of work. “You’d have to say she’s stepped forward with each of her runs and the way she felt today, I can’t see any reason why she won’t carry on progressing. “I think the mile is fine, she’d probably get a little bit further, but she’s a fast filly.” O’Brien added: “I’m delighted with her. She came forward from the first day at Leopardstown to Newmarket and obviously we felt she came forward then to today. “She’s not short of pace.

You’d imagine she might get a mile and “Ryan was very impressed with her. He said she was as easy a Classic winner as you could believe. “If everything went well, you’d be thinking of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot with her, because she is a good strong traveller. “Then you have to make your mind up where you go after that. Do you go to Goodwood over a mile and a quarter for the Nassau Stakes, or do you go to the Falmouth and those mile races?” a quarter when she gets a mile that strong here at The Curragh, but she’s a good traveller.

“Ryan was very impressed with her. He said she was as easy a Classic winner as you could believe. “If everything went well, you’d be thinking of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot with her, because she is a good strong traveller. “Then you have to make your mind up where you go after that. Do you go to Goodwood over a mile and a quarter for the Nassau Stakes, or do you go to the Falmouth and those mile races?”

The Ballydoyle handler had also completed the 2000 Guineas double with Churchill the previous day. The trainer added: “It’s for everyone really; a lot of people work very hard. Over 20 years if I named out all the people, I’d only forget some. “As each horse comes along there is a team around them and we’d be very grateful to a lot of people.” Restricted to 3yos, the 1m2f Group 3 Gallinule Stakes also went to O’Brien and Moore with Homesman running out a narrow winner. Turning out a fortnight after chasing home Irishcorrespondent, vanquished in the Irish 2000 Guineas, in a conditions race at the track, Aidan O’Brien’s charge was sporting blinkers for the first time.

Moore’s mount took a while to find top gear, but eventually wore down Born To Play to score by a head. O’Brien said: “Ryan gave him a great ride. He’s a big, massive horse for a 3yo and was a little bit immature mentally but he’s coming. That’s why we put the blinkers on, just to try to get him together. “He’d probably prefer better ground and a mile and a quarter is probably his trip, but we could look at the Irish Derby. “We could also look at the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot for him.” Connections went on to complete a 3yo treble with Iron Mountain who, having raced once as a juvenile, made a winning reappearance in a 1m2f maiden.

The Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, over an extended 1m2f, was robbed of star attraction Minding two days previously but, as a consequence, appeared wide open on paper. In reality though, Decorated Knight, victorious at Meydan on Super Saturday in the 1m1f Group 1 Jebel Hatta, won with plenty in hand. Trainer Roger Charlton had claimed this Group One prize twice previously with former stable star Al Kazeem, in 2013 and 2015, so it was no surprise Decorated Knight was sent off favourite. Remarkably, with Thistle Bird landing the 2014 Pretty Polly Stakes, Charlton’s last four winners at The Curragh have all been Group Ones! Admirable grey Success Days took the eight runners along for much of the journey, with Decorated Knight always on his tail.

Andrea Atzeni sent his mount in pursuit halfway up the straight and they hit the front inside the final furlong. Aidan O’Brien’s tenacious filly Somehow, fourth in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury just the previous weekend and running for the fourth time in the space of a month, was delivered late with her challenge, but Decorated Knight held on for victory. Atzeni said: “He did it very smoothly, we had a good draw and a good position throughout. “He travelled beautifully and I was confident two out that he would take all the beating. He’s very brave and he’s going the right way; when the second horse came closer to him he went on again and won quite well.

“There’s been a lot of rain but I was pleasantly surprised how the ground was. Fair play to the owners and Mr Charlton, who was keen to run him despite Saturday’s heavy rain.” Charlton added: “I was very worried when I saw the ground yesterday. I knew the forecast was for heavy showers, but not like an inch or whatever they had. “People kept tactfully sending me photographs of flooded car parks and puddles everywhere and I thought it was getting bad. “The surface was a bit dead, it’s good to soft, but the course is in fantastic condition. They’ve opened up a new strip. I walked the course and was very pleasantly surprised how good it was.

“He doesn’t have to have rattling quick ground. In Dubai it affected him quite badly. “This horse has improved and improved. The Group One race he won at Meydan wouldn’t have been the strongest race and this is a stronger race. He keeps on improving. “If Minding had turned up it would have been a different story, but he won with his ears pricked and was pulling up in front. “He has a very classy pedigree. He’s a very close relation to Gleneagles and his dam is a half-sister to Giants Causeway, so he has a stallion career.

“The Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot looks likely to be his next port of call.” The meeting opened with a 6f maiden for juvenile colts and geldings in which nine went to post but only two ever looked like winning. The favourite, Brick By Brick and Colm O’Donoghue, attempted to make all, stalked by Commander Grigio. The latter, the mount of Chris Hayes, overpowered the early leader, who faded into fourth, just over a furlong out, running on strongly to land the spoils for trainer Fozzy Stack. Stack said: “He won well. Chris was kicking himself the last time because he said he couldn’t really get out of traffic on him.

“He won well today and he’s been working well at home. The owners might want to go to Royal Ascot, but I’ll try to persuade them to come back here for the Railway Stakes. “He’s a smart horse and that’s only his third time on grass. “On pedigree he should get further as it’s kind of a staying family. He’s from the same family as Salsabil and his grandmother was placed in the Guineas. “I don’t think he wants it bottomless and fast ground here the last time didn’t really bother him. Chris thought he’d be better on fast ground and I hope he’s right.”

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